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Phillies Blog Articles - March 2013

Wally Joyner makes good first impression
by Scott Butler 3/2/13

Tell me everything you know about Phillies assistant hitting instructor Wally Joyner.

Time's up. If you were able to name more than two things, you win. I knew the name and guessed correctly that he played for the Padres and was a first baseman, but really didn't know a darn thing about the guy. To be honest, I don’t even really care.  More often than not, the worse you are as a player, the better you are as a coach. If that's the case, how did Greg Gross get fired? Oh, too soon? Sorry GG.  

In case you are interested, Wally Joyner was a first baseman who played for the Angels, Royals, Padres, and Braves. He is a career .289 hitter with 204 home runs, 973 runs scored, and 1,106 RBI.

Can we ever really know how good of a coach he will be? Probably not, but Wally Joyner's comments regarding Domonic Brown won me over pretty quickly. "We straightened his hands out a little bit, allowing his wrists to cock," Joyner said. "He's a big boy. He looks great. We want to take advantage of that size and leverage. That's one of the assets that Ryan Howard has. And he uses it. He has a lot of leverage. He stays behind it."

Brown was impressed, as well. "It seemed like God maybe sent an angel down toward me."

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Spring Training and WBC Through Eyes of Cole Hamels
by Scott Butler 3/6/13

If you want a few good quotes you go to Cole Hamels. His cavalier attitude with his words is gold for bloggers like myself. He provided us with a few more yesterday.

First, Hamels offered his thoughts on playing in the World Baseball Classic:

"I know my allegiance is to the Phillies and this organization winning the World Series," he said. "I think winning the World Series is a little bit more important than whatever trophy they give for the World Baseball Classic. The World Series is ultimately the goal that I would go for no matter what they are throwing out there for the champions of the World Baseball Classic."

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Philling out last roster spots for pitching
by Scott Butler 3/11/13

In 21 days the Phillies active roster will be set.  Which 25 players will be named on that roster when the season begins on April 1?  It is one of the few intrigues in the Purgatory that is Spring Training.  You know things are bad when Charlie Manuel’s incident with a tricycle is considered news.  Funny how the bench warmers garner more headlines than the entire starting staff, but that’s what you get in a land where the sun shines and stats mean nothing.  

Let’s continue the trend and try to focus on those last few roster spots and project the Opening Day roster. We will do the pitching today and the position players in the next article.

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Uh oh...Halladay's outing raises huge concerns
by Scott Butler 3/13/13

Doc leaves Phils wondering.

Phils concerned about Halladay.

No, those are not just sentence fragments intended to expose my weakness with the English language. Those are a few of Tuesday’s headlines. It’s frightening stuff. When I was alerted to the atrocities occurring on the mound at Bright House Field, my initial thought was, “If Doc is done, the Phillies are done.”

If you rely on overwhelming evidence to determine your reality, then pay close attention to my first thoughts. The stats show an outing in which Doc allowed seven runs, six hits, two home runs, four walks, and one strikeout. Even more telling was, according to Bob Brookover, "a fastball that topped out around 87 m.p.h. and was clocked more often at 84 to 85."

Should we be concerned? If the comments from the Phillies skipper and pitching coach hold any merit, the answer is hells yeah.

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Philling out last roster spots for offense
by Scott Butler 3/16/13

Here is your math question for the day.  The Phillies will have 25 players on their active roster on Opening Day. Twelve of those players will be pitchers, which leaves...raise your hand…thirteen position players. 

On Monday we focused on the final roster spots for pitchers. Now let’s take a stab at the those thirteen position players. Of those thirteen, we can knock off six starters right off the bat.

Phillies Starting Position Players

C – Erik Kratz
1B – Ryan Howard
2B – Chase Utley
SS – Jimmy Rollins
3B – Michael Young
LF – Open
CF – Ben Revere
RF – Open

That leaves seven players to account for: two starting outfielders, two backup outfielders, two infield bench players, and a backup catcher.

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Simon's Fund: Checking hearts and saving lives of student athletes
by Scott Butler 3/19/13

With three Philadelphia college basketball teams and thousands of student athletes ready to take center stage in March Madness, I wanted to divert your attention from baseball to plug a great local charity. Trish Harrington, a friend of mine and of course of Phils Baseball, alerted me about Simon's Fund, a local Philadelphia charity she works with that screens student athletes' hearts -- and raises awareness about the leading killer of student athletes: sudden cardiac arrest.

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Flashback to Phillies 2012 Offseason
by Scott Butler 3/21/13

The baseball world moves very fast.  That’s why I always find it interesting at this time of year to think back to where the Phils were last year.  You might be amazed at how much you forget in just one year, so I thought I would remind you through a short hike down memory lane. 

After their best regular season ever with 102 wins, last offseason was supposed to follow the Phils second championship in four years. Instead, it followed their earliest postseason exit since 2007. They not only lost in the first round to the St. Louis Cardinals, but it was a 1-0 loss in the decisive fifth game with Doc on the mound and concluded with Ryan Howard crumbling to the ground on the very last pitch.

And thus began the Phillies offseason. They started with some housekeeping and declined the options on Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt. With Lidge and Oswalt officially gone, the attention turned to the role of Phillies closer.

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Opening Day a dream come true for Brown
by Scott Butler 3/24/13

Pampered, spoiled, and famous. They are filthy rich celebrities who get the chicks.

Sums up the life of a Major League baseball player, doesn't it? We, as fans, get carried away with obsessing over the money and fame of professional athletes.  We see their six, seven, and sometimes eight figure contracts and forget that they used to be Little Leaguers playing for fun just like us.

I see a player like Domonic Brown and see a rich, privileged, arrogant kid who has had his butt kissed since he was two, who even now at the minimum salary makes more money in a year than many of us make in a decade.  In his first taste of the majors he acted the part of a superstar with his gaudy wardrobes and leisurely strolls around the bases as if he had a small stash of MVP trophies in his mother's basement. He acted like the majors were his right and he deserved the privileges that went along with it. 

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Releasing Betancourt the right move for the Phillies
by Scott Butler 3/26/13

Yuniesky Betancourt finished his Phillies Spring Training with a .447 average (21 for 47) in 51 plate appearances. From 2007-11, only Derek Jeter played more games at shortstop than Betancourt (thanks Matt Gelb). Yet the Phillies let him walk without so much as a bag of doughnuts in return. Yes, and it was absolutely the right move.

Betancourt had a productive spring and that is nice for him. Yeah, well Ben Francisco parlayed a 2011 spring average of .361 into a .244 average during the season and he was gone by the next year. That is just a random player sample but it shows that spring stats oftentimes mean next to nothing.

Call me crazy, but I would rather base my baseball decisions on 1,019 regular season games than 18 Grapefruit League games.  The result is a player who, since 2009, has the lowest on-base percentage in baseball (.275), fourth lowest OPS (.658), and has the second worst fielding value among infielders (-41.3) according to Fangraphs.

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Phillies take center stage in Philadelphia sports discourse
by Scott Butler 3/30/13

The baseball offseason is a laboring, arduous, laborious, one. Six months of dark, bitter, sterile days as we wait for Opening Day. It's tough to pick up the newspaper (do people still read those things?) and consider yourself lucky to find more than one Phillies article.

But the rite of passage has occurred with the return of our boys to Philadelphia. And with that, the Phillies entered the forefront of the Philadelphia sports discourse once again. On Friday there were no less than 17 articles on philly.com and a plethora of insightful topics.

Here are a few of the more interesting headlines and from Friday. Among the discussions were a look at how the Phillies don't value sabermetrics, adjusted training routines for the big guys, the impending injection of youth, and a severely depleted and horribly ranked farm system.

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What if's a-plenty for 2013 Phillies
by Scott Butler 3/31/13

I love this time of year.  This time right now where hope springs eternal and every fan calculates what it will take for their club to win it all.  I can remember back to the truly horrendous days of Steve Jeltz, Don Carmen, Steve Searcy, Dale Sveum, Ricky Jordan, Juan Bell, Braulio Castillo, etc. from the 90’s thinking if this happened and that happened, the Phils would actually have a chance. Hey, it worked in 1993 didn't it? Ahh, the long list of what-if's to make the Phillies a champion.

Those what-if's of a couple decades of futility were replaced with expectations in the last few seasons for our home town Phils.  Now, for the first time in a long time, we need to round up those what-if's again.  Can the Phillies win another World Series in 2013?  Absolutely, unequivocally, and without a doubt...

...if Roy Halladay has anything at all left in the tank.

...if Ryan Howard can return to his old form.

...if Chase Utley's legs don't fall off.

...if Domonic Brown’s spring is indicative of his true potential.

...if Kratz can tread water until Chooch returns.

...if Ruiz can hit without his meds.

...if Michael Young can hold his own at third and hit a little, too.

...if Mike Adams isn’t damaged goods.

...if the young Phillies relievers can make a difference.

The what-if's are the beauty of Opening Day, a day in which the Nationals are tied with the Astros for the best record in baseball.

Five months, 27 days, and three hours is now down to less than 24 hours.

What if this is the start of another championship season...

 

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